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Horse Hoof Conditions: Thrush

Picking your horse’s feet gives you an excellent opportunity to inspect its hooves and ensure your horse is in good health. For example, when you pick up your horse’s feet, you can take note of the temperature and whether or not they feel slightly warm. It also gives you the opportunity to check on the horse’s pulse and on the overall condition of the frog. Even more importantly, checking your horse’s hooves will allow you to catch thrush in its early stages so it can be properly treated.

Usually caused by prolonged standing in mud, manure or other wet, filthy conditions, thrush is a bacterial condition that can lead to significant hoof damage. Typically, the condition is characterized by a foul smell and dark ooze coming from the cleft of the frog. Over time, the frog may also become cheesy in texture.

If caught in its early stages, thrush is relatively easy to treat with over-the-counter medications. While treating thrush, it is important to ensure the stall is dry and clean with absorbent shavings in place. Even with proper care, horses with upright, narrow feet with deep clefts are at a higher risk of developing thrush. For this reason, it is even more important to check on these horses regularly so the condition can be caught in its early, treatable stages.

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